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The Best Bike Ride in America

Cycle Oregon XXV

2012: Celebrate an Anniversary in Style!

Rider Handbook
Cycle Oregonian – Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Day 6 / Day 7

Day 0 – September 8: Bly

You may have noticed that the dates for Cycle Oregon are September 8-15, but the Day 1 route is for September 9. That’s because of the often-overlooked Day 0. This is Saturday, the day that riders converge on the first overnight site in Bly. It’s the day to pick up your packets, re-acquaint with riders and Cycle O folks, get your tent routine down and maybe even go for a spin to loosen your legs. Dinner is served in the big tent, and there will be live entertainment on the stage along with ride announcements.

Day 1 – September 9: Bly to Silver Lake (70 miles)

“High Lonesome” Map
Start from Bly, heading north through Ponderosa country, where nearly wild cattle don’t know what to make of cyclists, and the views stretch as far as your imagination of the week ahead. Roll through high meadows filled with lush vegetation and wildflowers, ride ridgelines above marshlands teeming with wildlife, and traverse alpine forests on an isolated one-lane road. Relish the splendid isolation: It’s just you, your bike and the land spreading out around you today.

Day 2 – September 10: Silver Lake to Fort Klamath (81 miles)

“Marsh Madness” Map
The day begins roly-poly, climbing steadily past ranches tucked into pocket valleys and then turning to a section of up-and-down that’s like riding a half-pipe. Drop down into Klamath Marsh for a definition of “wide open,” as marshland and lily pads stretch out for miles in all directions and birds provide the soundtrack. On the way to Fort Klamath, Collier Park offers a green, shady oasis as well as fascinating vintage logging equipment. Finish with a satisfying, long glide into town.

Day 3 – September 11: Fort Klamath to Prospect (61 or 88 miles)

“Up, Down and All the Way Around” Map
Ride out of Fort Klamath past rich pastureland, as a long, steady warm-up ride almost imperceptibly turns into a true climb. Spin through the trees, catching glimpses of a jagged, rough-hewn canyon paralleling the road. Enter Crater Lake National Park and scale your way gradually to the indescribable views at the rim. Choose to tackle the challenging, never-flat Rim Road, or simply head back down and on to an exuberant 16-mile forest descent. At Union Creek, check out the Rogue Gorge before enjoying the gradual descent into Prospect.

Day 4 – September 12: Prospect to Ashland (76 miles)

“The Long and Winding Road” Map
Today offers seclusion of a different kind – more forest than prairie. Climb up out of Prospect, then ride a plateau past high-mountain meadows and lakes before a snaky green descent that will induce euphoria. Stop in picturesque Butte Falls for lunch, and gird up for a hearty climb in the afternoon. Onto Big Elk Road, surf waves of pavement for miles before connecting to Dead Indian Highway, which offers a section of velvet-smooth pavement, one last bit of work, then an extended thrill-ride descent into Ashland.

Day 5 – September 13: Ashland Layover Option (26 or 46 miles)

“Peak Experience”  Map
Ashland offers plenty of distractions that could keep you off your bike, but you might not want to miss the chance to take on one of the classic and beautiful climbs in Oregon. Ease out of town on Highway 66, then pedal the peaceful grades of the Old Siskiyou Highway, switchbacking in the shade of mossy overhanging trees. Emerge at Callahan’s next to I-5 and decide whether to take it on up to Mt. Ashland ski area. The bigger the climb, the longer the downhill!

Day 6 – September 14: Ashland to Klamath Falls (65 miles)

“Riding the Crest” Map
Remember Dead Indian Highway? Today, get a reverse perspective of what you flew past two days ago. It’s so quiet as you climb that you can hear cows tearing grass – plus you get stupendous views. Up top, see Mt. McLoughlin across meadows as you steadily climb through the forest and peak at the Pacific Crest Trail before turning onto Clover Creek Road for long stretches of tuck-in-and-grin as you transition from alpine forest to high desert. The finishing section from Keno to K Falls is smooth, flat and fast.

Day 7 – September 15: Klamath Falls to Bly (64 miles)

“Bly and the Big Blue Sky” Map
Early on today, access the unique OC&E Woods rail-to-trail path for miles of straight-and-true riding through the valley. At Olene, move on over to the road, winding to and fro through cattle range and fertile cropland along the Lost River on the way into Bonanza. After lunch, take on the reasonable climb over Bly Mountain and enjoy the twisting backside. From there the pavement is silky all the way home – if you get a tailwind it’ll be like sailing back into port after an amazing week-long voyage.